Two more of my fosters have gone home, and I went along for the ride. Last Sunday Simon, Teddy Bear and I left with a friend on our journey south to Savannah, GA, where the boys will live with their boys, Kaden and Kyler, and my niece and her daughter Cassidy as well as their new kitty sisters and doggy brother. I was totally amazed at these two formerly feral kittens who’d taken so long to socialize, able to ride for two days in strange cars, meet dogs and strange people and sleep in strange places and not once meow or hiss or act frightened in any way. The whole trip went well and they are relaxing and acclimating to their new home. And Teddy has a new name—Kyler decided he will now be Theo. Below is the night before I left: Kaden with Simon, Kyler with Theo, Jennifer with Elsa and Cassidy with Baby.
My niece and her family were here for a short visit in September when the boys had Simon and Theo in arms within minutes of arriving. I was thrilled when Jennifer said they wanted to adopt first Theo, then also Simon. From there it was just a matter of getting the kittens to Savannah from Pennsylvania, but with former ferals like the boys, who needed a few months of extra socialization, avoiding any trauma for them is very important or they could have a setback in socialization, so I carefully considered options for travel. Also, I’ve never had the opportunity in nearly 15 years to visit my family in Savannah and decided I was going to go with Simon and Theo, but had to find a way to travel with two cats in a way that did not involve me driving that distance by myself just in case they did react badly to traveling.
Luckily a local friend who had moved near Greensboro NC for work but drove back and forth to visit family often welcomed me to travel to her home for the first leg of the trip on one of her drives back after Christmas. We’d then stop for the night and drive the next day to meet my niece in Georgia where she and I would travel together the rest of the way, and I would fly back after my stay.
We left Sunday evening. I had lined up my wonderful pet sitters, and had a big carrier ready for the boys to ride in the back seat, which they’d share with Colleen’s very friendly black lab Chaos. I wasn’t sure how stressed they’d be and was concerned about possible car sickness on a full stomach and their need to use the litterbox on the eight-hour drive, so unlike my usual leave taking I didn’t feed them all a last meal before I left. It was strange when everyone thought we were going into the kitchen to have dinner, but instead I put Theo and Simon in the big carrier and shut the door. I encouraged everyone to see them one last time, though they wouldn’t really know that. They’d all been so close, the thought of me not being here after Theo and Simon disappeared had me hoping it was all okay with them.
But from the time I set the carrier on the back seat next to Chaos there was not a peep out of either of them, and they looked completely relaxed stretched out next to each other and napping as we traveled. I gave them a little food and water half way, but otherwise let them just ride. No litterbox issues at all, either, but they waited until we’d arrived at each of our destinations and had a litterbox in a room.
Chaos kept watch all the way down and then on the trip the next day as well.
Colleen’s house had the perfect setup with the master bath off the master bedroom where I could let them out of the carrier but confine them with their litterbox and food. They explored the room, used the litterbox, ate and ate and drank and drank and when they seemed relaxed and playful I let them out into the rest of the room. I played with them before shutting off the lights and getting some sleep; when I awoke the next morning they were sleeping on either side of me, pleased to have me to themselves.
We passed some time there before the drive into Georgia and they played and ate and drank some more.
They also got to meet Chaos in the fur. Chaos was just dying to meet them and even got her nose slapped when sniffing under the dust ruffle on the bed. But Simon bravely came out and cautiously walked over to her and they touched noses. To my knowledge, meeting Chaos was their first experience with a dog, and seeing it go so well it was good news for when they’d meet Bingo, their future doggy brother.
Another six hours in two cars and we arrived at Jennifer’s house, took everyone and our supplies inside, and unpacked the boys to meet their new family. They’d be staying in Kyler’s room at first so they could be together.
They were just a little cautious but came right out of the carrier, ate and drank and used the box while exploring and being petted and hugged and played with by everyone within minutes of arriving.
They even got the chance to meet one of their new sisters, Baby, who desperately wanted into the room. Baby is Cassidy’s cat, adopted for her because her brothers had each other, and Elsa, the lead cat in the house, is Jennifer’s cat, both adopted from shelters in Savannah.
That night they stayed in their room, and through Tuesday and Wednesday we let them out for little explorations into each of the bedrooms and other parts of the house as they felt comfortable, and so they could meet the other cats when the kids were at school and then again after they’d come home, and then to meet Bingo. Only once when Theo escaped the room was there any traumatic reaction that he had to recover from. They’ll continue to keep them confined and let them explore the house in short visits for the next few weeks.
Theo and Simon have both been pretty silent up to now with only their little chirps and loud purrs, but about a month ago they both started talking just a little at a time. Recently Theo had begun a little bit of sing-song talking and we heard him here and there in the house while he was exploring. Cassidy told us he’d also tried to make friends with Baby and sang to her for a while when she wouldn’t let him close.
Simon found Baby’s comfortable spot on the cat tree. He’s taking things a little more slowly than Theo.
Theo climbed to the top to get a good view of the Christmas tree, another thing he’s never seen. There are cat toys hung from nearly every knob on every drawer in the house.
They explored Bingo’s bowl of food and water while Bingo was outside. The water is good, they food is not. Theo is determined to be friends with Baby, and despite the airplane ears she is wearing she is very curious about both of them. She’s tried to play with Elsa for years, but Elsa wants no part of it.
The boys enjoy some snuggles with Kaden.
They didn’t actually meet Bingo until after I left. Bingo has been completely dominated by Elsa and has never thratened either cat, but he’s a high-energy dog so he oversteps his bounds and is used to being smacked by cats. Theo was a little scared when meeting Bingo face to face, and hissed when Bingo got too close. Bingo stopped and backed up and started whining an apology and apparently the look on Theo’s face when he saw Bingo’s reaction was total surprise he’d repelled the invader.
Teddy’s name is actually Theodore, and I’d started calling him Teddy Bear when he began to grow as big as he is and his coat filled out with soft gray fluff. Kyler will be calling him Theo, though, so from here I will be calling him Theo when I post updates.
The boys with their boys—I like their big smiles in the second photo.
The boys had the habit of looking out the front window each morning at home…
…and continued the tradition in their new home the first morning they were there. They were glad to see there were squirrels and birds in their new yard!
I am thrilled at how it all worked out. I’m so happy for my fosters and my family that they are all together, and that I can see the boys when I visit—because I’m not going to make it so long before I go back. And I will go back because I have to see the beach again!
I’m also very grateful for Mary Kay and Sharon and Dr. Michelle who came to feed my cats. Thanks to Mary Kay for the photos while I was away, and Sharon for being available at the last minute.
Browse some rescued cats and kittens!
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Weekly schedule of features: Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!